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IAB Releases OpenDirect 1.0 For Public Comment of Specification That Provides Publishers Greater Control in Packaging, Buying and Selling Premium Inventory Through Programmatic

AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo & Yieldex Created Initial OpenDirect Technical Specification for Programmatic Premium Sales, Providing Spec to IAB for Wider Industry Adoption

NEW YORK, NY – (NOVEMBER 3, 2014) – With programmatic practices flourishing within the digital media arena, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released “OpenDirect 1.0” for public comment, a new automated, guaranteed API standard for the programmatic selling and buying of premium inventory that delivers greater efficiencies and reliability in the packaging, pricing, and delivering of reserved inventory for publishers. Originally developed by a working group of representatives from AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yieldex, and later expanded to include executives from Bionic Advertising Systems and MediaMath as well, the OpenDirect specification was brought to the IAB and its Digital Advertising Automation Task Force to be part of the trade association’s existing automation efforts, gain wider industry participation, and drive adoption across the ecosystem.

The specification offers a range of benefits to publishers, including:

  • Increased workflow efficiencies
  • Greater control in packaging, pricing, and delivery of inventory
  • Reliable means of automating reserved inventory

Once adopted by publishers, it will provide advantages for agencies as well, such as:

  • Liquidity of bigger pools of unique users
  • Increased efficiency via one API integration across multiple publishers
  • Book guaranteed delivery and access to media offerings not available on an exchange

“OpenDirect 1.0 is valuable to the industry at-large and therefore is best served under the auspices of the IAB, where we have the resources and reach to ensure it becomes a global standard,” said Scott Cunningham, Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB. “Programmatic strategies have become a mainstay within our business and it is imperative to find solutions and technologies that will make these types of automated transactions more reliable and beneficial to all parties involved. This common set of API specifications sets the stage for direct programmatic ad sales and will allow buyers who want to access guaranteed inventory via automated processes avoid multiple, costly, custom integrations.”

“Microsoft was founded on the belief that technology empowers people and organizations to do more and achieve more,” said Greg Nelson, General Manager, Display Advertising, Microsoft. “Supporting the growth of programmatic premium aligns with this value as this technology alleviates points of friction that make it hard for advertisers and publishers to scale big brand buys on the internet. By removing these obstacles, programmatic users are given back valuable time to focus on what matters most to them. These new standards will serve as a catalyst to unlock pent-up demand for premium publisher offerings and help speed the migration of offline media spend to online, and ultimately empower others to achieve more.”

“Yahoo has been working hard to establish standards that will improve programmatic buying and make the process easier and more efficient for advertisers,” said Eric Lange, VP of Ad Products, Yahoo. “Common API specifications will help create a thriving digital ad ecosystem. Now, advertisers can confidently use programmatic to maximize the value of high-quality premium ad placements and get a higher return on their ad budgets.”

“This initiative and the capabilities it provides are in line with AOL’s open programmatic strategy and an extension of our AOP Programmatic Guaranteed offering,” said Seth Demsey, CTO, AOL Platforms. “Efficient transactions between multiple publishers and buying platforms have the potential to dramatically accelerate the growth of automated guaranteed buying.”

“We are excited to unveil the work we’ve been doing with AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo to further our collective mission to make it easier for all premium publishers to increase efficiency and grow revenue,” said Tom Shields, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Yieldex. “This standard will enable agencies to efficiently and easily buy premium inventory from some of the industry’s most desirable properties.”

The news was released at this year’s IAB Ad Operations Summit in New York City. To review “OpenDirect 1.0,” please visit

The public comment period will run through December 3, 2014, after which the IAB Digital Advertising Automation Task Force will evaluate the comments received, make any necessary revisions, and release a final version. Comments are being accepted via email by Ramona Gonzales, IAB lead on this initiative, at [email protected].

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. The organization is committed to professional development, elevating the knowledge, skills, and expertise of individuals across the digital marketing industry. The IAB also educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]